If you are not from California you are probably baffled by the war between the North and the South. It’s the Giants vs. Dodgers, Rain vs. Sun, Liberal vs Less Liberal. They say “The” before saying the name of a freeway, i.e. “The 101” “The 5”. We don’t. That’s just dumb. We invented sourdough bread. They invented liposuction. We have the Grateful Dead, Sean Penn and the Golden Gate Bridge. They have Snoop, lots in the State Pen and smog. We both had the Raiders, so I guess that really doesn’t work. It’s a war that will withstand the test of time. Where Socal begins and Norcal ends has always been up for debate. Some say San Luis, some say Monterey, some even say San Jose. One thing is sure…Bakersfield is in Southern California.
B-town was where we gathered for the Norcal/Socal Cyclocross showdown. I had heard lots of good stuff from some of the Rock Lobsters that rode in the Showdown last year. Even though the season was pretty much over for me and I hadn’t done an interval in a month, I went for it. We arrived at our plush accommodations, Motel 6, on Friday night and settled into our rough surroundings. The room was a haven for destruction. Holes in the walls were filled but not painted, unless you consider “drywall patch white” a color. The shower leaked all over the bathroom. Black lighting the bedspread might have brought some other interesting finds, but we decided better to know nothing then find out everything.
Day 1 brought some rain during the night and very high winds. I mean VERY HIGH WINDS. 40 plus mph. No use setting up the team tent. I got my bike up in the stand to do some work and that was when my day went bad to even worse. My A-bike was in the stand and a gust of wind blew it over. It took me a while to realize that the rear derailuer hanger was bent. I didn’t figure that out till after the race. I took the B-bike out for a lap and proceeded to get a flat front tire. I just wanted to get this race over. I started out well. Top 3 into the single track, but after a lap I just blew. I didn’t have a great warm-up and it was effecting me. 45 minutes later I was destroyed and finished up 6th.
After the race we cleaned up, went out for a great meal with the Socal teams at a brewery and we were back to hotel for some rest…or so we thought. This Motel 6 started to get crazy. I have stayed in Motel 6’s for most of my life. Cheap accommodations, numerous hotels all over the US and you always knew what you were getting – kind of like Starbucks. This one was the worst. They decided to power wash outside our door late in the afternoon. Then during the night there was a fight right above us. Two guys fighting over payment to a prostitute. Awesome. I peered out the window and it looked like one of them had a gun. Even better… “Hey guys, I am just here to wear some spandex and race my bike. Can you keep it down?”
Day 2 got us away from our hotel in one piece and off to the race site. The wind had died and it was pretty good cross weather. The course changed, but still had this massive run up. So steep that at the top you had to set your hand down to keep your balance. Lots of Norcal heavy hitters showed up to race for one day. I took it a little more serious this day, got a great warm-up and lined up feeling good. I hung with Gannon Myall and Sam Ames (two heavy hitters) for a couple laps then got dropped. I managed to rebound for a 4th place. Overall Norcal won 11 out of 19 races. A great showing by Norcal, although when the points were totaled Socal had more riders and won the team event. I was so excited about racing that I can’t wait till next year!